Kathy Henne: From less to yes

The painful truth: sellers who do not price their property competitively are the most likely targets of low ball offers. In any market, buyers are more prone to make low offers on listings seen to be priced too high. Listings that don’t sell require price reductions, which in turn often mean ultimately accepting an offer lower than you could have received by pricing aggressively from day one.

Since selling your home can be such an emotional and subjective experience, it’s easy to understand why you might be reluctant to counter an offer below your asking price. But rather than feel insulted, try to see it as the beginning of a dialogue that could ultimately produce a sale.

If you feel any of the terms or conditions of the offer are questionable, ask your agent for advice about making a counter-offer. Usually buyers and sellers don’t really know beforehand what price they’ll accept until they’ve begun the negotiations. For example, a buyer might agree to a higher price than planned or the seller may realize that the offer is the best one they’re likely to get.

If you’ve received a lower than expected offer, but the buyers have proven their qualifications and commitment by securing loan pre-approval, you should give the offer serious consideration. The process of counter-offering can be swiftly settled or carry on ad nauseam. Be prepared to explore all options and act quickly before letting your negotiations fail. Keep in mind that each time you make a counter-offer, the likelihood of coming to an agreement decreases. Each time you counter-offer you risk having the other side walk away from the deal. So look closely at what the other side is offering you. See if you can find a way to make it work out for both of you.